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January 04 2014


Reform in Burma? - Rear Vision - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Elections in Burma twelve months ago were widely seen as a sham but a series of unexpected government decisions since then offers some modest hope for a country suffering the effects of fifty years of repressive military rule. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/rearvision/reform-in-burma/3595334

January 02 2014


Secrets Of The Parthenon Present A Gripping “Enigma”

We go back to the future with a new look at the Parthenon of Ancient Greece, Athens, and the foundations of democracy.

A tourist walks in front of the ancient Parthenon temple at the Acropolis hill Athens, on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013. (AP)

A tourist walks in front of the ancient Parthenon temple at the Acropolis hill Athens, on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013. (AP)


Joan Breton Connelly, professor of classics and art history at New York University. Author of “The Parthenon Enigma: A New Understanding of the World’s Most Iconic Buildling And The People Who Made It.” Also author of “Portrait of a Priestess: Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece.”

William St. Clair, senior research fellow at the Institute of English Studies at the School of Advanced Study, the University of London. Author of “Lord Elgin and the Marbles: The Controversial History of the Parthenon Sculptures.”

From Tom’s Reading List

American Journal of Archeology: The Parthenon Frieze – “The traditional interpretation, identifying the frieze as the Panathenaic procession, goes back to the eighteenth century travelers Stuart & Revett. It has two main points of vulnerability. First, some items are missing which would be expected: e.g. kanephoroi (women carrying reed baskets), allies shown as tribute bearers, hoplites, the sacred trireme. Second, the violation of convention (having a contemporary scene where there should be a mythological one) would be severe and anomalous. Some scholars have met these objections by supposing that we have an “original” Panathenaia retrojected into mythic time.”

Metropolis Magazine: The Top Architecture and Design Books of 2013 — “The Greek temple has held architects in thrall for centuries, and each generation, from Andrea Palladio to Le Corbusier, seems to find new reasons to deem it one of the best structures ever built by a highly rational civilization. Not so much, the historian Joan Breton Connelly says. Uncovering legends of serpent kings and rituals of child sacrifice, this gripping book offers a new understanding of the Parthenon and the Greeks who built it.”

New York Times: New Analysis of the Parthenon’s Frieze Finds It Depicts a Horrifying Legend — “Now the discovery of fragments of a lost play by Euripides, found on papyrus in the wrapping of an Egyptian mummy, and the diligent research of an American archeologist have produced a much different explanation. The scenes of the frieze do not depict a fifth-century procession, according to the new thesis, but instead evoke the Athenian founding myth of a king’s precious sacrifice to save his city from defeat.”

Read An Excerpt of “The Parthenon Enigma” By Joan Breton Connelly

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October 04 2013


Images From On Point Live At The Harvard Kennedy School

On Thursday, Oct. 3, On Point host Tom Ashbrook moderated the kickoff forum for the Harvard Kennedy School’s Challenges to Democracy series. The forum, titled Inequality vs. Democracy, explored the problems that can arise if democratic societies continue to ignore or avoid fixing large-scale issues of economic inequality.

Tom was joined on stage at the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics by Harvard University professor Alex Keyssar, Princeton University professor Martin Gilens and Canadian journalist and Liberal Party candidate Chrystia Freeland. A radio broadcast of the event will air at 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 4.

Below, we’ve included some images from the event. Come back on Friday for audio and video from the from.




All Photos courtesy On Point Intern Austin Federa.


August 24 2013


Has democracy reached a tipping point? - Future Tense - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

A recent poll by the Lowy Institute suggests many young Australians are ambivalent about the virtues of democracy, while leading democracy scholar John Keane warns that democracy has reached a ‘tipping point’ similar to the 1930s. Three political thinkers give us their perspectives on the changing nature of the Democratic tradition and where it might be heading. Guests: Greg Melleuish, Associate Professor of History and Politics at the University of Wollongong. Tim Soutphommasane, University of Sydney Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights and School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Sydney. Presenter of RN's Mongrel Nation series and newly appointed Australian Race Discrimination Commissioner. John Keane, Professor of Politics at the University of Sydney and at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin. Director of the OnDemocracy.org initiative and the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights. Further Information: Lowy Institute Poll on democracy and young people's perceptions (http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2013/06/26/Gen-Y-and-democracy-whats-going-on.aspx) Greg Melleuish's profile (http://lha.uow.edu.au/arts/histpol/staff/UOW018770.html) Tim Soutphommasane's website (http://www.soutphommasane.com.au/) John Keane's website (http://johnkeane.net/) RN's Mongrel Nation series (http://abc.net.au/radionational/programs/mongrelnation/) OnDemocracy.Org (http://www.ondemocracy.org/) http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/has-democracy-reached-a-tipping-point3f/4883516

July 15 2013


Elizabeth Anderson at IPPR: A history of egalitarianism

IPPR welcomed Professor Elizabeth Anderson, from the University of Michigan, to its offices on 13th June 2013 to give a history of egalitarianism. Responding to her was Professor Ben Jackson, Leslie Mitchell Fellow and Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Oxford, and Professor Anne Phillips, Graham Wallas Professor of Political Science and Gender Theory at LSE and Director of the Gender Institute.

Elizabeth Anderson, "Tom Paine and the Ironies of Social Democracy" | University of Chicago Law School

August 25 2012


OWS: A Case Study In Social Movements : NPR

On May Day, the Occupy Wall Street movement re-emerged to try to reestablish its message and place in the national conversation. Thousands marched in New York City, Oakland and other cities, then quickly faded from national view. Guests consider what sustains social movements, and why some fail. http://www.npr.org/2012/05/03/151947678/ows-a-case-study-in-social-movements

August 11 2012


PRI: To the Best of Our Knowledge

Demanding Democracy -- Wikileaks' controversial founder Julian Assange. The first Tea Party activist. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley. What do they all have in common? They're Demanding Democracy.
Tags: democracy

June 07 2011


Francis Fukuyama: How Did We Get Here?

How did our political system grow into what we have today? Author Francis Fukuyama on political order and the inevitability of conflict.

March 31 2011


Siva Vaidhyanathan, author of The Googlization of Everything

Interviews on media and democracy with media scholar Robert W. McChesney http://will.illinois.edu/mediamatters/show/march-27th-2011/

September 02 2010


Hellbound Alleee Show 140: Jury Duty

Francois and I return after 13 months to relate a story about my almost serving on a Federal Immigration case, and Francois pontificates.

August 27 2010


Third Paradigm: 3P-060 The Bipolar Bipartisan: Supporting Need and Greed

This episode looks at bipartisanship as a compromise between two confusions. We examine critical thinking and how it’s been bred out, generation by generation, defeating us through our own unexamined contradictions. We also look at that strange hybrid of capitalism and socialism, the consumer democracy. And we explore how Republicans and Democrats differ on a survey of happiness. Reads the poems “Begin” by Rumi, “Half-Life” by Stephen Levine, “Love Letters” by Ikkyu, and “Act Serious” by Tukaram. Discusses Obama’s first-strike nuclear option towards Iran as a “spare the nuclear rod and spoil the colony” policy, and quotes IPS and Diane Rehm on the topic. Puzzles over the assassination order of the US-born Muslim cleric in Yemen. Compares the capitalist creed cited by pilot Joseph Stack to the socialist creed, which is then critiqued by Ivan Illich. Ends with Bruce Gagnon on where both parties agree. Read the show transcript while listening, and view our images, videos, and links on the Third Paradigm website: http://thirdparadigm.org/3p_060.php

June 27 2010


Seeing Red Radio: Paul Le Blanc on Socialism and Democracy 2.9

Fresh from the new site WeAreMany.org, we feature Paul Le Blanc speaking on the topic, “What does Socialism have to say about Democracy?” He gave this talk in Chicago, IL, last weekend at Socialism 2010. Music: Democracy – Albino! Democracy Is… – Mad Professor Demo Crazy – Femi Kuti (Earthrise Soundsystem Remix) Demokracy – Abjeez feat. MC Talka Demokrassy – CivilianSlave The Best Democracy Money Can Buy – David Rovics People’s Choice – Derrick Harriot Democrazy – Kokolo Original version broadcast on Thursday, June 24, 2010 8 PM EST on WXOJ-LP 103.3 FM Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA Program length: 1:00:32
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